As a seller, you’ve had your house on the market; as a buyer, you’ve been looking for your perfect home.  The deal has been negotiated, all parties have signed and you’re now under contract. As you celebrate, the reality starts to sink in: this is just the beginning.

The buyer needs to get to work on financing. If you have not already secured your financing, you need to find the option that best suits your circumstances. There are many options out there and your best bet is to shop around. Get recommendations on experts that can help you navigate the process. Don’t take too long, though. Your contract will probably have a requirement for you to apply for your loan and get approval in a specific amount of time. The company you select for your loan will guide you through the loan process. Look forward to providing plenty of information to them. They will work with the title company and will also select a property appraiser to ensure the home is worth the money you are paying. Be patient. This process can take some time. The good companies will keep you informed every step of the way.

The new home you are purchasing may look perfect, but don’t forget about inspections. You will want to find a qualified, certified and licensed home inspector. The inspector will evaluate the home and report on any deficiency that the home may have. The home inspector has broad, general knowledge, but is rarely an expert in any specific area. The inspector may recommend additional inspections with licensed professionals that have an expertise in specific areas. This includes, but is not limited to, stucco, heating and air, plumbing, septic systems, sprinklers, appliances, roof, electrical, environmental and structural. Don’t shortcut this step. The money you spend here can potentially save you considerable expense in the future. While he is there, have him provide a Wind Mitigation report. This can potentially provide discounts on your homeowner’s insurance. Depending on the age of the home, your insurance company may require a 4-Point inspection as well. Your inspector can also take care of this for you.  

Most residential loans require that the home have a clear WDO (Wood Destroying Organism) report. This report shows any problems with the home related to wood rot and damage from wood destroying organisms. As with the home inspector, you will want to find a qualified, certified and licensed inspector to inspect the home. Since they are experts, you will rarely need a follow-up by another inspector. If issues are found, that same inspector will go back out to re-inspect the property to provide you with a clear WDO report. Most WDO inspectors work for pest control companies. Given the prevalence of termites, especially Formosan termites, in the area, you will want to discuss options to protect your investment in the future. 

The inspections are done and there are some issues. Not to worry, rarely does a house pass inspections with no issues to remediate. When you negotiated the contract, you probably agreed to repair limits for both General and WDO repair items. Take a look at your contract. It spells out exactly what items are covered under General Repair. This makes it easy for the buyer and seller to determine what should be covered during repairs. Generally the seller will contact professionals to give quotes to repair the requested items. The buyer and seller will then agree on repairs. In some instances, the repairs will exceed the agreed to limits. In that case, the buyer and seller will need to further their negotiations.

You’re almost there. There are just a few more items to consider. If there isn’t a current survey on the property, you will need to get a survey done prior to closing. This will ensure there are no encroachments on the property and give you a good legal description for the deed. The title company will have done a title search to ensure there are no liens or encumbrances on the property. You want to make sure that the appraisal looks good and shows the value of the home is at least what you are paying for the home. Also make sure you have your insurance lined up and they have bound it prior to closing day.

The closing day has arrived. The closing company has provided you with a statement showing all the financial information related to the transaction. They also have provided you with instruction for how to bring funds to the closing. Bring your ID and be ready to sign away.

These are common steps required to sell or purchase a home. There can be others. A qualified real estate professional is knowledgeable and trained to assist you with these and many other items. They also have groups of professionals that they can recommend and engage to assist with the entire process. Make sure you have a trusted professional on your side!